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Fort Lauderdale Car Accidents
Sunny Fort Lauderdale is one of the top tourist destinations in Southern Florida. Popular for its Everglades airboat tours, plentiful shopping and dining on Las Olas Boulevard, and its famous international boating show, Fort Lauderdale’s many attractions draw people from all over the country. The city’s hundreds of miles of inland waterways have earned it the nickname “Venice of America.”
However, Fort Lauderdale’s streets can be quite congested at times, and car accidents are an unfortunate reality of life in South Florida. Pedestrian and bicycle accidents are an area of particular concern. Fort Lauderdale is one of the most dangerous metropolitan areas in the country for pedestrians. The city also ranks high on the list of the most dangerous cities for cyclists.
Whether you’re commuting to work on I-95, taking a leisurely drive on the A1A, out for a walk, or riding your bike, the risk of being in a collision is ever-present. You can’t predict when an accident will occur, but you can count on Morgan & Morgan to be there for you when an accident happens. The largest injury firm in the country, we’ve been fighting For the People, against powerful insurance companies, since 1988.
Our Fort Lauderdale lawyers help car accident victims on a contingency-fee basis, and your initial consultation is always free. Schedule a no-cost, no-obligation case review to begin the healing process.
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How Does Car Insurance Work in Florida?
Florida follows no-fault auto insurance laws. The state’s no-fault provision requires every motorist to carry the following minimum coverages:
- $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. PIP insurance covers you when you are injured in a car accident, regardless of who is at fault for the accident.
- $10,000 in property damage (PD) liability. PD liability coverage pays for damages you cause to another person’s property while operating your motor vehicle.
PIP and PD liability are the only two types of insurance required for every Florida motorist. Another type of required car insurance is outlined in the Florida Financial Responsibility Law. This law requires drivers who have caused crashes involving bodily injury or death, or who have received certain citations, to purchase bodily injury liability (BI) in the minimum amounts of $10,000 per person and $20,000 per accident. Any Florida driver convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) must purchase $100,000/$300,000 BI insurance coverage, in addition to $50,000 of PD liability.
Other types of auto insurance available for purchase in Florida include:
- Uninsured/Underinsured motorist
- Medical payments
- Collision coverage
- Towing and labor
- Rental reimbursement
What Does Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Cover?
Your PIP policy covers you in the event of a car accident. If you have passengers in your vehicle, they’re injured in an accident, and they have PIP coverage for their own vehicle, their PIP policy covers them. If injured passengers in your car do not own a vehicle that offers them PIP coverage, they may be covered by your PIP.
Standard PIP benefits cover the following losses:
- Medical costs: Regardless of fault, Florida PIP covers 80% of all “necessary and reasonable” medical expenses that result from a covered injury, up to the policy limit. This means that you are on the hook for the other 20% of your medical costs. For non-emergency medical treatment, there is a policy limit of $2,500. Your health insurance may cover any costs not covered by PIP. PIP does not cover any medical bills if you don’t seek treatment within 14 days of the accident.
- Lost wages: Florida PIP pays for up to 60% of your lost wages, up to the policy limit. The policy also pays for healthcare travel mileage at the standard IRS rate.
- Replacement services: PIP coverage includes 100% coverage for “necessary and reasonable” replacement services, such as cooking and cleaning, that the injured policyholder is unable to perform due to injury
- Death benefit: The policy pays a $5,000 death benefit for things like funeral and burial expenses.
These are the standard benefits of a Florida PIP policy, but additional coverage options are available from some insurance companies. For example, you might be able to increase medical expense coverage from 80% to 100%, lost wage coverage from 60% to 80%, and the maximum coverage amount from $10,000 to $20,000.
Can I Sue for a Car Accident in Florida?
Yes, you can file a car accident lawsuit in Florida, but only under specific circumstances. Since PIP provides accident compensation, regardless of fault, up to $10,000 (and in some cases, $20,000), most accident claims will be resolved with your own insurance company. When your own insurance policy covers the full amount of your losses, there isn’t any need to step outside of the no-fault system.
But Florida auto insurance law does allow some car accident lawsuits. Under certain circumstances, you may file a car wreck claim against an at-fault driver. In order to do so, the following conditions must be met:
- The other driver was at fault (at least in part)
- You suffered personal injuries that exceed the benefits provided by your PIP policy
- You sustained serious, permanent injuries (as defined in this Florida statute)
Keep in mind, though, that the other driver’s insurance company might try to characterize your injury as temporary and not serious to avoid paying you. Florida car insurance companies have the right to request an independent medical examination performed by a doctor of their choice. The doctor might have a financial incentive to side with the insurance company.
Injuries that meet the threshold of serious and permanent include paralysis, brain damage, significant head injuries, permanent scarring and disfigurement, and fractured bones. If your lawyer cannot prove your injuries meet this threshold, you may not be able to file a lawsuit for additional compensation. An immediate evaluation by a physician, in addition to further testing and monitoring at the hospital, is essential to prove that your injury is severe enough to warrant legal action under Florida’s insurance laws.
If you’ve been seriously hurt and have questions about filing a lawsuit, you should speak with our Fort Lauderdale car accident attorneys right away.
Are Cyclists and Pedestrians Covered Under PIP?
Florida is the most dangerous state for pedestrians and South Florida, including the Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach-Miami metro area, is the 13th most dangerous metropolitan area for pedestrians over the last decade, according to Smart Growth America. Fort Lauderdale is also a risky place to ride a bike. Over a recent five-year period, there were 14 bicyclist deaths and 568 cyclist injuries caused by motor vehicle collisions.
Despite our city’s work to combat these alarming figures through the Vision Zero program, we have a long way to go. Those who regularly bike and walk in Fort Lauderdale are taking a risk. Pedestrian and cyclist crashes are much more likely to result in serious injury and death than car crashes. If you’re hit by a car while on foot or on a bike, your Florida PIP insurance—or the policy of a household member—should cover you. But given the higher rates of serious pedestrian and cyclist injuries, it is much more likely that these injuries will meet the threshold necessary to file a lawsuit.
If you were hurt by a motorist while biking or walking in Fort Lauderdale, our car accident attorneys can help.
What Types of Compensation Can I Recover in a Car Accident Lawsuit?
If you qualify for a Florida car accident lawsuit, you can potentially recover far more than you could from a PIP claim. Car accident compensation generally takes two forms:
- Economic Damages: Economic damages cover losses that have a clearly-defined monetary amount. They include compensation for current and future medical expenses, lost wages, and loss of earning capacity.
- Noneconomic Damages: Noneconomic damages are more subjective than economic damages, but they cover very real losses like physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life.
In the case of a death caused by a fatal car accident, families may be able to recover funeral expenses and other related costs through a wrongful death lawsuit.
Why Choose Morgan & Morgan?
You purchase insurance to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your most valuable possessions. Insurance companies flood the airwaves with commercials telling you that they will be there when you need them most. They give the impression of a trusted friend who is looking out for you. They promise to have your back and to set things right. You can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that you are insured by them. At least, that’s what they say.
In reality, insurance companies are among the biggest and most profitable companies on the planet. The U.S. automobile insurance industry alone is worth around $300 billion. How do they make so much money? It’s simple: they collect more in premiums than they pay for claims. They hold onto the money you pay them and invest it to turn an even bigger profit. Does this sound like the formula of a company that has your best interests in mind?
Unlike the insurance company, Morgan & Morgan really does have your back. We’ve grown into the nation’s largest injury firm by taking on the insurance industry—and winning. Every day we deal with people who insurance companies mistreat. We take denied claims and lowball offers and turn them into the verdicts and settlements our clients deserve. It’s a business model we’re proud of and one that the insurance companies are afraid of.
The insurance company bullies fear a car accident law firm like ours that is strong enough to stand up to them and fight back. Morgan & Morgan is too big to be pushed around, and as our client, you won’t be pushed around, either.
Can I Afford a Car Accident Lawyer?
We won’t stop fighting for you until you get every penny you deserve, and you won’t pay a penny unless we win your case. That’s because Morgan & Morgan handles every case on a contingency-fee basis. In other words, there are no out-of-pocket costs to hire us. If we obtain a verdict or settlement for you, you pay us a percentage of the total amount recovered. By not charging hourly fees, our attorneys are not only able to represent a wider range of clients, but we’re also invested in winning your case.
How Can Our Attorneys Help?
The number one goal of our attorneys is to get you the help you need. This help takes many forms and includes:
- Making sure you receive timely and appropriate medical treatment
- Investigating your claim and building the strongest case possible
- Gathering evidence related to your claim, such as medical records and police reports
- Hiring experts who can support your case
- Handling all communications with the insurance company
- Negotiating a fair settlement
- Taking your case to court if a settlement can’t be reached
While it might sound obvious that a car accident law firm should be ready to enter the courtroom, many firms haven’t tried a case in years. They’re content to negotiate a settlement and take their cut. Not Morgan & Morgan. We try more cases than any other law firm in the country. This fact is inseparable from our success. We routinely take low pre-trial offers and turn them into big verdicts, like this recent Fort Lauderdale case where our client was offered $0 and won $5.2 million.
Our trial-ready lawyers have much more leverage when negotiating with the insurance company, because insurers know if they won’t settle, we’ll see them in court.
When Should You Contact a Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Lawyer?
Florida has strict rules about when a car accident lawsuit can be filed. Unless you are seriously injured, and have exceeded the limits of your PIP policy, it may not be worth involving an attorney in your claim.
However, an attorney can do more than help you file a lawsuit against an at-fault party. Don’t assume that, because you’re filing a claim with your own insurance company, they will automatically treat you better than another person’s insurance company. Every insurance company—whether it’s yours or somebody else’s—has the same business model. That model is most profitable when companies deny legitimate claims and offer lowball settlements.
There is some language in Florida insurance policies that can work against you. For example, PIP benefits cover 80% of all “necessary and reasonable” medical expenses. But what is the insurance company claims that the treatment you received was not necessary, or not reasonable?
PIP claim paperwork can also be complicated. To get lost wage reimbursement, you must submit a wage and salary verification completed by your employer and sent to the insurer. If you have an extended absence from work, a disability form may be required.
Dealing with the insurance company and its paperwork requirements can be particularly difficult when you’re injured. An attorney may not be required, but it is your right to have representation. And if you are seriously injured and have to take your claim outside the no-fault system, hiring an attorney is recommended.
It costs nothing to speak with the car wreck lawyers in our Fort Lauderdale office. We’re here to answer your questions, 24/7. Get in touch and let us know how we can help.
Contact Our Fort Lauderdale Office
The injury attorneys at Morgan & Morgan have decades of experience helping clients get the compensation they need and deserve. Size matters, results matter, and experience matters. Founded in 1988, we’re America’s largest injury firm, with $10 billion+ recovered for our clients and more than 800 attorneys. Every day, thousands of people call us for help. Last year, we successfully resolved over 70,000 cases.
You’re heard our name and seen our advertising. Now it’s time to experience the Morgan & Morgan difference for yourself. Call or contact us to start your free, no-risk case evaluation.